Trip Report – Taronga Wharf to manly – saturday Feb 27, 2010

Walkers: Bruce, Michelle, Jacqui.

After meeting at Circular Quay we travelled by ferry to Athol Wharf, below Taronga Zoo, and set out on the Harbourside walk on the first leg to Clifton Gardens. Past Bradley’s Head the track is through bushland which is still largely unchanged bespite 222 years of European settlement. We noticed a few artists along the walk sketching or painting views of the Harbour a la Tom Roberts.

We re-entered civilization at Clifton Gardons with its coffee shops and dive school, and had a brief stop here for water and cake. After that it was on to Middle Head, and then a road bash along Middle Head Road to Gordon Street, and then to Laury Plunkett Reserve, which is actually part of the former Balmoral tramline. The reserve is actually in fairly dense bushland and goes through a deep cutting before reaching Balmoral Beach.

After a short water and food break on Rocky Point Island at Balmoral, we then set out along the beach and onto the rocks at the northern end, to see if we could walk around the rocks to Chinamans Beach, instead of enduring a road bash. This is where the walk got a bit exciting. It was right at low tide so the rock platforms that are normally covered were exposed and navigable. In fact we were able to get three-quarters of the way round until we reached the point where to continue would require a long Harbour swim, and the risk of being buffered against jagged rocks studded with razor-sharp edges of oyster and barnacle shells. Not to mention sharks!

So we had to turn back to the northern end of Balmoral Beach and a road bash to Chionamans Beach. From there it was another raod bash, but along pleasant Parriwi Road to The Spit, across Spit Bridge and to the little park on the northern side.

From there it was a walk through bushland partly along yet another tramline right-of-way to Clontarf Beach. It was along this section where we saw several dragons, mostly juveniles but also a metre-long adult. From Clontarf to Forty Baskets Beach is was a long and very warm walk through scrub along a bush track, and then around Fairlight Pool to manly Wharf. After refreshments we took the Manly Ferry Back to Circular Quay

An enjoyable day for all.

Bruce Stafford